Don’t Give Up!

We’re all familiar with the famous war-time quote: “Never, never, never give up!” But, do you know who has said: “Don’t Give Up!” concerning your health, hopes, and pursuits? Stephen Hawking.

Who is Stephen Hawking?

He is an “English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. Among his significant scientific works have been a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set forth a cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He is a vocal supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics….”

The truly amazing thing is that at 21 years of age, he was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). By its progression over the years, he is almost entirely paralyzed and communicates through a speech-generating device.

At 72 years of age, he has yet to give in to his physical disability. But, in September of 2014, he declared himself an atheist.

If you’re so given, would you lift up a prayer that his spiritual eyes would be opened for his greatest discovery yet: that the “grand design of the universe” was created by The Grand Designer, God, Who was, is, and forever will be…and his heart would open to receive Him.

(If interested, today, November 7, “The Theory of Everything,” is premiering in theaters. It’s a movie depicting Stephen and Mary’s love story, and subsequent marriage (after his diagnosis and expected two years to live), his collaborations, honors, and struggles.)

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First, I must apologize to my newsletter subscribers. Wednesday was my first “forget.” Please forgive me for a “Chariot Notes” no-show! It WILL be in your mail next Wednesday.

Lately, I’ve read articles on communal civilizations, where money had no value, no one bartered for services, and there was no societal hierarchy—no one “lording” over another. There were no egos.

One or two families tended the land, planted the crops, and harvested its produce. For instance: if it was rice, someone else’s job was storing and cooking it; another person ground it into mill for bread; someone else prepared the bread.

The fishermen fished the streams and lakes. The shepherds cared for the sheep. The shearers sheared. The fleecers prepared the fleece into yarn, then, the yarn was spun, and knitted into clothing.

Vegetables and fruit were the same. Those living in the fields, gardens, and orchards tended, picked, and prepared its produce. The same went for maintaining and directing the water supply for irrigation, drinking, cooking, and hygiene. Each occupation was passed down through the generations.

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV)

These weren’t responcibilities. Each member of the village/tribe considered it their sacred rite to the circle of life…so that they could live. What was of value was each member’s contribution to the community. The shepherds ate from the land and wore the clothes, just as the clothiers drank the milk and ate the cheese from the sheep.

No one was homeless, hungry, or naked.

There was no delinquency; no crime; no competition; no stress.

There was no need for banks, government handouts, counseling centers, fitness gyms, farmer’s markets, restaurants, civic centers.

Rural life wasn’t easy, but everyone shared everything. Everything, and everyone, was safe.

What would you say was the common denominator for such peaceful coexistence?


photo anthropologist African tribe

Here’s the heartwarming result of such harmony:

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits.

When he told them to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.

When he asked them why they had run like that, as one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said:

”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”

It sounds like God’s original plan, don’t you think?

SCI Grenades: Weapons of Mass Distraction

For you fellow SCIs, or other involved, animal lovers who have one trouble-making “alpha,” this is my harmless, but effective, ammunition for breaking up pet fights. (I was bullied into its invention because I can’t squeeze a spray bottle to interrupt unwanted behaviors.) Before I get to it, everyone else has to hear my short spiel:

Becoming a pet owner is a big responsibility, and research is tantamount before adopting.

I’m a proponent of adopting from shelters. Even though most are Heinz 57 varieties, you can identify a predominant breed characteristic. Thus said, breed types, temperaments, longevity, veterinary bills (annuals, neutering or spaying, health issues), must be taken into consideration. Too many pets are chosen on looks alone, then rejected because they’re destructive (meaning bored with no exercise), require too much attention, need veterinary care, and/or aren’t suited for the owner/family’s lifestyle.

Please, know that animals should be an integral part of your life, not a possession you tire of, ignore, or abuse. As He did us, God created them on the sixth day and saw that “…it is very good.”

Fred Astaire-the debonair

Fred Astaire-the debonair

Now, to my feline “boys,” Fred Astaire and Laptop. (I dedicated the chapter, “A Little Bit of Heaven,” in Views From My Chariot  to my pets. You know they’re exceptional!)

Fred was a feral I tamed. Two years later, I saved Laptop from being euthanized. All went well until Laptop turned three or four; I can’t remember exactly.

Initially, the skirmishes were tame. They would start out as brotherly grooming—Laptop ministering to Fred. Things were copasetic for a time…until Laptop (a head taller and five pounds heavier) began exercising his alpha-ness.

Laptop begins lovingly grooming Fred’s head and ears then, atypically, body slams Fred to the floor, deceptively licking all the while.

Laptop's deceptive "come hither"

Laptop’s deceptive “come hither”

Fred’s a lover not a fighter, so he complies. But somehow, during the body slam, Laptop maneuvers into a tactical spooning position over Fred as he licks. Fred complains ever so slightly until…with all four paws embracing Fred in a body hold, Laptop goes for the jugular.

If you could feel it, Fred’s screeching would send chills up your spine! The aftermath of cat fur looks like evidence of a feather pillow fight.

Here’s my SCI-approved device for interrupting an all-out fight, equivalent to the ding-ding-ding of the boxing round timer: an empty 16 oz. plastic water bottle loaded with 5-10 pennies.

Normally, a rigorous shake is enough to send them running in opposite directions. But, when the battle has reached a screeching fever pitch, it’s expedient to hurl the device into their midst.

Since I can’t hop out of bed to break up night skirmishes, I’m armed with three in my bed; otherwise, one is in my kitchen and one, in my office. There have also been surprise attacks when I have thrown whatever liquid was in my hand. Clean-ups suck!

I digress. This morning, Laptop had two of his “Submit!” demonstrations over Fred. I was semi-armed for the second.

The skirmish erupted in the kitchen at the east end of my six foot long table. I was at the opposite end without a grenade, but my vitamin bottles were out for my week’s daily dosages. I grabbed the nearest, shook it for all it was worth, like pulling the pin, and hurled it into the battlefield.

Well, this one wrought a triple whammy of distraction: the warning rattle, the explosive landing, and the shrapnel of 60 vitamins ricocheting everywhere.

It worked! But, instead of running for cover, they acted like drug-sniffing cats.

As penance for not screwing the cap on tightly, I picked up each capsule, one by one; and some, over and over and over. Sort of like writing on the blackboard: “I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps. I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps. I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps…”

I will not soon forget!